Gbenga Omotoso

The Lagos State Government has warned the public to beware of fake news on coronavirus.

The government said its attention had been drawn to various false stories, particularly on the social media, in respect of the identification and quarantine of the 44-year-old Italian, who tested positive to Coronavirus, on his return from a business trip to Turkey.

A statement issued by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Gbenga Omotoso, said one of the stories alleged that the patient became angry and attempted to escape from the isolation ward due to what it described as the unsuitable condition of the Infectious Diseases Control Hospital in Yaba.

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“Another said that an individual, who claimed to have driven the Italian to Ogun State, escaped from hospital and has threatened to spread the virus all over Nigeria. He is said to be seeking N100m for his family to deter him from the ‘suicide mission’.

“It is disheartening that some mischief makers are handling the Coronavirus issue with levity and peddling fake news at a time medical science is focused on how to stop the infection. This situation calls for vigilance and soberness, not wicked jokes and frivolities,” he said.

Omotoso added that the government, in conjunction with the Federal Ministry of Health and the Ogun State Government, remained focused on entrenching measures to contain the infection and will not be distracted by activities of those who seem to be unconscious of the gravity of the situation.

“This is not a time for intrigues. Every Lagosian is required to support the government’s efforts at fighting this situation and taking precautions required to prevent an epidemic.

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“All residents should disregard any piece of information that does not emanate from official sources – the Federal Ministry of Health, the Lagos State Ministry of Health and the National Centre for Disease Control.

“Members of the public are implored to call the Lagos State Emergency Hotlines – 08023169485, 08033565529, 08052817243 – to report any suspected case of Coronavirus,” he said.